The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) announced today it will propose a rulemaking that could help prevent the killing of millions of migratory birds at nearly ninety thousand communications towers throughout the United States.
“American Bird Conservancy is pleased the FCC responded to the mounting scientific evidence that millions of migratory birds are being killed every year by communications towers, and acted swiftly to release this proposed rule,” said George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy. “Migratory birds – from the Baltimore Oriole to the declining Cerulean warbler – are a valuable natural resource and an important part of America’s heritage.”
Kudos to the FCC.
In 2002, American Bird Conservancy, Forest Conservation Council, and Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against the FCC (the federal agency that licenses the building and operation of towers in the United States), charging that bird fatalities could be avoided if the FCC would mandate avoidance and mitigation measures for towers known to prevent bird kills. These measures, advocated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and backed by scientific research, include: collocating antennas on existing structures, building towers less than 200 feet tall to avoid having to light them for aircraft visibility, using red or white strobes on towers over 200 feet tall instead of solid state or slow pulsing lights, and using monopole construction rather than guy wires.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC and the communications industry to ensure the final rule will prevent future avian mortality due to towers, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said, ‘violates the spirit and intent of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act… Endangered Species Act and Bald and Golden Eagle Act,’” said Fenwick.